Estimote have been creating super pretty Bluetooth beacons since 2013, helping spot the location of people and their phones in indoor situations. They’ve got a new LTE beacon that can report its indoor and outdoor position, so I asked Jakub Krzych, CEO & Co-Founder of Estimote, to give us the lowdown.
Regular beacons communicated the position of people and their devices, but required other devices (like smartphones) to be the ones to pass the beacons themselves to register their last known location. With LTE beacons, they can send messages straight to the cloud and communicate their own location too, as Jakub explains,
“The key difference between LTE Beacon and our other Bluetooth Beacons is that the device can talk directly to the cloud using the latest low power LTE IoT networks.”
It also has another pretty exciting aspect to it, Jakub points out that another key difference with their LTE beacons is that they are also “fully programmable as a device as our other beacons were only configurable.”
It’s also crazy simple to get started, I imagined a process of needing to purchase SIM cards for everything and get them connected, but it turns out they’re ready to go out of the box, SIM card and all!
“LTE Beacons are shipped in the Development Kits and have SIM cards built-in, so they work out of the box” — Jakub Krzych
The specs for those who want the techie stuff:
LTE beacons have three main use cases over existing beacons out there:
The LTE beacons can be programmed to do all sorts of things using Estimote’s Web IDE — no need to download software, it’s all in the browser with an editor providing syntax highlighting and auto-completion. They’ve also got a simple power-consumption profiler built-in.
In addition to the device code, developers can also create anonymous Lambda functions. In this scenario, the Lambda function will wait for events reported by the device and then will process them sending data to pre-programmed end-points. This means that developers can quickly prototype simple IoT apps without the need to establish AWS/Heroku instances!
You can find out more about Estimote’s new LTE beacons on their website — with the first dev kits shipping in September with a free 3-month subscription plan. Thank you to Jakub Krzych for taking the time to give us info on their new beacons!